The main political problem is how to prevent the police power from becoming tyrannical. This is the meaning of all the struggles for liberty.
The worst evils which mankind has ever had to endure were inflicted by bad governments. The state can be and has often been in the course of history the main source of mischief and disaster.
The first thing a genius needs is to breath free air.
Spiritual movements are revolts of thought against inertia, of the few against the many; of those who because they are strong in spirit are strongest alone against those who can express themselves only in the mass and the mob, and who are significant only because they are numerous.
The common man is the sovereign consumer whose buying or abstention from buying ultimately determines what should be produced and in what quantity and quality.
Political ideas that have dominated the public mind for decades cannot be refuted through rational arguments. They must run their course in life and cannot collapse otherwise than in great catastrophe...
The direction of all economic affairs is in the market society a task of the entrepreneurs. Theirs is the control of production. They are at the helm and steer the ship. A superficial observer would believe that they are supreme. But they are not. They are bound to obey unconditionally the captain's orders. The captain is the consumer. ...[Consumers] make poor people rich and rich people poor. They determine precisely what should be produced, in what quality, and in what quantities.
Economic control is not merely control of a sector of human life that can be separated from the rest; it is the control of the
means for all our ends.
Government cannot make man richer, but it can make him poorer.
Education rears disciples, imitators, and routinists, not pioneers of new ideas and creative geniuses. The schools are not nurseries of progress and improvement, but conservatories of tradition and unvarying modes of thought.
The essential characteristic of Western civilization that distinguishes it from the arrested and petrified civilizations of the East was and is its concern for freedom from the state.
The struggle for freedom ... is not the struggle of the many against the few, but of minorities -- sometimes of a minority of but one man -- against the majority.
Government means always coercion and compulsion and is by necessity the opposite of liberty. Government is a guarantor of liberty and is compatible with liberty only if its range is adequately restricted to the preservation of economic freedom. Where there is no market economy, the best-intentioned provisions of constitutions and laws remain a dead letter.
Depression and mass unemployment are not caused by the free market, but by government interference in the economy.
Those who call themselves "liberals" today are asking for policies which are precisely the opposite of those policies which the liberals of the nineteenth century advocated in their liberal programs. The so-called liberals of today have the very popular idea that freedom of speech, of thought of the press, freedom of religion, freedom from imprisonment without trial -- that all these freedoms can be preserved in the absence of what is called economic freedom. They do not realize that, in a system where there is no market, where the government directs everything, all those other freedoms are illusory, even if they are made into laws and written up in constitutions.
This, then, is freedom in the external life of man -- that he is independent of the arbitrary power of his fellows.
It is impossible to understand the history of economic thought if one does not pay attention to the fact that economics as such is a challenge to the conceit of those in power. An economist can never be a favorite of autocrats and demagogues. With them he is always the mischief-maker, and the more they are inwardly convinced that his objections are well-founded, the more they hate him.
Violent resistance against the power of the state is the last resort of the minority in its effort to break loose from the oppression of the majority. ... The citizen must not be so narrowly circumscribed in his activities that, if he thinks differently from those in power, his only choice is either to perish or to destroy the machinery of state.
Against nature and within nature there is no freedom.
There are for man only two principles available for a mental grasp of reality, namely, those of teleology and causality. What cannot be brought under either of these categories is absolutely hidden to the human mind. An event not open to an interpretation by one of these two principles is for man inconceivable and mysterious. Change can be conceived as the outcome either of the operation of mechanistic causality or of purposeful behavior; for the human mind there is no third way available.